Lifestyle & Parenting

Exile Bistro: Your New Summer Hangout

May 2, 2014

We’re happy a sweet little spot like Exile Bistro has opened near English Bay. We have a feeling it’s going to be the perfect place to roll into after summer beach days leave us craving a bite and a solid cocktail.

exile bistro 1Located adorably across the rainbow-road on Davie, on a chestnut-lined stretch of Bute, the cool little space was designed by Scott Cohen (The Acorn) to exude a welcoming, secret-neighbourhood-hangout vibe. Exile owner Vanessa Bourget recently moved west, bringing some Quebecois influence with her by way of chef Melanie Witt, previously posted at Montreal’s Lawrence Restaurant.

exile bistro 2Along with Lina Caschetto, formerly of Nuba, the team at Exile emphasizes “plant-forward” cuisine—not vegetarian per se, but with an eye for all things fresh and foraged. That’s what made our lunch salad ($12) one of the best we’ve ever had: a far cry from ubiquitous boxed micro-greens, its leaves were a riot of herbaceous species we could barely identify (baby hops showed up, as in, beer hops) topped with pickled daikon, beets, mushrooms and a dressing that brought to mind the word “umami.”

exile bistro 3Bibimbap ($12) had a similarly satisfying assortment of toppings, including a lightly marinated, perfectly soft egg, wakame and kale buds (just when you thought you’d tried all possible incarnations of kale). The cocktail menu saw interesting concoctions, too, like a Green Caesar stirred from cold-pressed juice and blue-green algae, and the Sputnik #9 with hemp vodka (it’s a thing), lemon and coconut sap ($13 each).

Exile Bistro goes from lunch spot to resto-bar in the evenings. It’s safe to say we’ll be back. —Adrienne Matei

Exile Bistro, 1220 Bute St., Vancouver, 604-563-8633,

Exile Bistro on Urbanspoon


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